Bohol Gov. Art Yap attending his weekly meeting with mayors. (Contributed)

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap is set to release a new executive order lifting the two-week ban of inbound and outbound travelers into the province upon the recommendation of the majority for province’s mayors despite objections from local health officials due to the possible local or community transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant

Yap said the mayors have appealed to the Bohol Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force to lift the travel ban and authorize persons outside residence (APOR) and private travelers.

On Aug. 6, Bohol started a two-week ban of inbound and outbound travelers to prevent the entry of additional Covid-19 cases. Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) are exempted from the ban.

The Department of Health (DOH) in Central Visayas says there is a possible local or community transmission of the Covid-19 Delta variant in Bohol as it logged additional four cases, Tuesday, Aug. 31.

Atty. Kathyrin Pioquinto, the provincial administrator confirmed the two new Delta cases in Tagbilaran City and one each in the towns of Baclayon and San Miguel. The first two delta cases were reported on August 16 from Tagbilaran and Candijay.

The Provincial Health Office reported that the reported Delta cases have long recovered.

Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, chief pathologist of DOH in Central Visayas said Bohol might be experiencing a local or community transmission of the Covid Delta variant. “The new cases are not returning overseas Filipinos,” she said. “The Delta variant is already there (in Bohol).”

The medical professionals expressed their reservations on lifting the travel ban since Bohol is already on Alert Level 4 due to high occupancy rates of health facilities. Doctors worry that a spike in infections from travelers might easily “overwhelm” their hospitals.

Conceding to local chief executives, the medical professionals, instead recommended maintaining the required 72-hour negative RT-PCR test before departure and a 5-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival and a re-swab after the 5th day to ensure that travelers are not infected. – Ryan Sorote